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Potatoes are the world's fourth most important food crop, yet they were unknown to most of humanity before 1500.
Feeding the People traces the global journey of this popular foodstuff from the Andes to everywhere.
The potato's global history reveals the ways in which our ideas about eating are entangled with the emergence of capitalism and its celebration of the free market. It also reminds us that ordinary people make history in ways that continue to shape our lives.
Feeding the People tells the story of how eating became part of statecraft, and provides a new account of the global spread of one of the world's most successful foods.
In following the global travels of the peripatetic potato, Earle brilliantly illuminates both the origins of dietary advice that promised the key to happiness and the everyday ingenuity of farmers and cooks who really do feed the people.
Jeffrey M. Pilcher, author of Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food
If they’re delicious when you choose to eat them, but penitentially bland when you’re told you have to, you may be eating potatoes, which, as Rebecca Earle argues in her brilliant study of the shape-shifting tubers, provided the first taste of the tension between personal freedom and public well-being within the modern state.
Joyce E. Chaplin, author of The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius
Potatoes have inspired great books and great recipes. Rebecca Earle describes some unalluring dishes, but her history - cultural, culinary, social, political, and environmental - is the cream of the crop: for coverage, scholarship, breadth and depth of erudition, vividness in exemplification, and fluency in writing no previous work can touch it.
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, author of Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It